18 Aug 2015

Hansen turns attention to World Cup squad

11:37 am on 18 August 2015

With the Bledisloe Cup in the bag, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen must now turn his thoughts to the 31-man squad for next month's Rugby World Cup in England.

Meanwhile, the players who took part in the Rugby Championship will now either return to their provincial unions or join the All Blacks' strength and conditioning camp in Tauranga.

Steve Hansen (L) with Dan Carter

Steve Hansen (L) with Dan Carter Photo: Photosport

Hansen will not waste any time as he gets straight into business this week with his selection choices for the World Cup.

He said Saturday's 41-13 victory against the Wallabies gave him a good insight into who he thinks will make the cut.

"I don't think anyone played themselves out [of contention], but we're got some positive headaches," he said.

"There are some guys who, in other test matches have also played particularly well so we've got some serious thinking to do to make sure we get the right people on the plane and there are going to be some good players who miss out."

One player who stood out for Hansen on Saturday was All Black second five Ma'a Nonu, who scored two tries against the Wallabies.

Despite his positive peformance, Nonu said he can always do more to secure his place within the All Blacks team.

All Blacks' midfielder Ma'a Nonu scoring a try in the 2015 Bledisloe Cup test match at Eden Park.

All Blacks' midfielder Ma'a Nonu scoring a try in the 2015 Bledisloe Cup test match at Eden Park. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"There's a lot of work for myself, I missed a tackle out there, gave Conrad [Smith] a hospital pass and earlier in the first half I could have kicked it through for Jules [Savea] so there's still a lot to work on," Nonu said.

Also playing his way into form against the Wallabies on Saturday was Daniel Carter, who set up the first try in the match that was scored by hooker, Dane Coles.

Carter also put the Wallabies under relentless pressure as he attacked their defensive line, something the All Blacks coaching staff wanted to see from him since the start of the Rugby Championship.

But he's also wary of his position within the All Blacks side.

Dan Carter training

Dan Carter training Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"There's a lot of important rugby left this year so it's a bit of a confidence booster, but there'll be a lot tougher games later in the year to step up for," Carter said.

Hansen told media that he will release some of his players to their provincial teams for extra training, while others will head to the Bay of Plenty with the All Blacks' strength and conditioning coach Dr Nic Gill.

The coach will announce his squad for the World Cup on Sunday August 30th at Parliament.

Our rugby reporter Barry Guy shares his thoughts on some of the debatable positions:

The mix is likely to be 17 forwards and 14 backs.

Does prop Charlie Faumuina get in despite having not played so long because of a back problem?

He'll get to prove his fitness with Auckland and if he comes through that, then he should be selected.

Four or five locks? Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano are set, while Jeremy Thrush and James Broadhurst are the other contenders, but the selectors may decide to take just three with cover from the loose forwards.

Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Jerome Kaino, Sam Cane, Victor Vito and Liam Meesam will be the loosies.

Meesam's place may be be determined by how many locks are taken.

There might be just two halfbacks in Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara, with Colin Slade as a utility.

The back three is perhaps the most contested with Ben Smith and Julian Savea sure to feature.

Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Slade and possibly a fit-again Waisake Naholo could fill the other three places.

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